Category: Evidence for Policy

Autonomous nudges and Ai Choice Architects – Where does responsibility lie in computer mediated decision making?

AI and algorithms shape many aspects of our everyday life, from the familiar algorithms structuring our social media feeds, to those subtly transforming more complex fields, such as policymaking and commerce. Stuart Mills argues that as these choice ar…

Book Review: A Handbook for Wellbeing Policy-Making by Paul Frijters and Christian Krekel

In A Handbook for Wellbeing Policy-Making, Paul Frijters and Christian Krekel offer a new guide to wellbeing-driven public policy, focusing on the proposal to replace GDP with wellbeing as the key metric to assess societal progress. With the book compr…

Do Nudges Work? Debate over the effectiveness of ‘nudge’ provides a salutary lesson on the influence of social science

Two recent papers have again brought into question the value and effectiveness of ‘nudge’ based policy interventions. Tony Hockley argues that as much as these studies reveal about nudge policies, they say more about the complex way social and behaviou…

Book Review: Thinking Like a Climate: Governing a City in Times of Environmental Change by Hannah Knox

In Thinking Like a Climate: Governing a City in Times of Environmental Change, Hannah Knox offers a new ethnographic study of the local dynamics of climate change, focusing on the city of Manchester. This detailed analysis of local climate politics ill…

How can researchers influence policy when their work lies outside the political mainstream?

The premise of postgrowth research is that environmentally sustainable wellbeing should replace GDP growth as the cornerstone of public policy. This interest in a transition beyond the existing parameters of ‘political reality’ means such research face…

Quick, but not dirty – Can rapid evidence reviews reliably inform policy?

The COVID-19 pandemic created an unprecedented and time critical demand for policy relevant evidence syntheses and in so doing demonstrated how timely evidence reviews can shape policymaking. As the policy crisis of COVID-19 recedes, research is underw…

Descriptive statistics are essential to making complex analyses useful.

In response to the ever-growing volume of data, quantitative social research has become increasingly dependent on complex inferential methods. In this post, Kevin R. Murphy argues that whilst these methods can provide insights, they should not detract …

After half a century of ‘wicked’ policy problems, are we any better at managing them?

Since the term was popularised by Rittel and Webber in their seminal article, Dilemmas in a general theory of planning, the concept of ‘wicked problems’, or those that are resistant to optimal solutions, has posed a significant challenge to the creatio…

Policy citation databases offer new ways to understand the impact of social sciences research

Tracking the policy impact of academic research is notoriously difficult, especially when academics are not directly involved in policymaking processes. However, the recent development of tools to index and organise online policy documents has cast new…